Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519

The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...

Chapter CVIII - Description of a draught and dearth

Argument. The distress of Chandalas caused by famine and want of Rain.

The king continued to say:—Time passed away, and old age overtook me, and turned my beard to blades of grass covered with hoar frost.

2. My days glided away in alternate joy and grief, brought on by my fate and acts; just as a river flows on with the green and dried leaves, which the winds scatter over it.

3. Quarrels and broils, misfortunes and mischances, befell on me every moment; and beset me as thickly and as fastly as the arrows of woe flying in a warfare.

4. My foolish mind kept fluttering like a bird, in the maze of my wishes and fancies; and my heart was perturbed by passions, like the sea by its raging waves.

5. My soul was revolving on the vehicle of my wandering thoughts; and I was borne away by them like a floating straw, to the whirlpool of the eventful ocean of time.

6. I that moved about like a worm amidst the woodlands of Vindhya, for my simple supportance, felt myself in the process of years, to be weakened and pulled down in my frame, like a biped beast of burthen.

7. I forgot my royalty like a dead man, in that state of my wretchedness, and was confirmed in my belief of a Chandala, and bound to that hilly spot like a wingless bird.

8. The world appeared to me, as desolate as at its final desolation; and as a forest consumed by a conflagration; it seemed as the sea-shore lashed by huge surges; and as a withered tree struck by a lightning.

9. The marshy ground at the foot of Vindhya was all dried up, and left no corn nor vegetable, nor any water for food or drink; and the whole group of Chandalas, was about to die in dearth and dryness.

10. The clouds ceased to rain, and disappeared from sight; and the winds blew with sparks of fire in them. (The hot winds of the monsoon called agni-vrishti).

11. The forest trees were bare and leafless, and the withered leaves were strewn over the ground; wild fires were raging here and there, and the wood-lands became as desolate, as the abodes of austere ascetics (dwelling in the deserts).

12. There ensued a formidable famine, and a furious flame of wildfire spread all around;it burnt down the whole forest, and reduced the grass and gravels all to ashes.

13. The people were daubed with ashes all over their bodies, and were famishing for want of food and drink; because the land was without any article of food or even grass or water in it, and had turned to a dreary desert.

14. The mirage of the desert glistened as water, and deluded the dry buffaloes to roll in it (as in a pool); and there was no current of breeze to cool the desert air.

15. The call and cry for water, came only to the ears of men; who were parching under the burning rays of the torrid sun (in the Deccan).

16. The hungry mob, hurrying to browse the branches and herbs, yielded their lives in those acts; while others sharpened their teeth, in their acts of tearing and devouring one another.

17. Some ran to bite the gum of catechu, thinking it to be a bit of flesh; while others were swallowing the stones, as if they were cakes lying on the ground before them.

18. The ground was sprinkled with blood, by the mutual biting and tearing of men; as when blood is spilt in profusion, by the lion's killing a big and starving elephant.

19. Every one was as ferocious as a lion, in his attempt to devour another as his prey; and men mutually fought with one another, as wrestlers do in their contest.

20. The trees were leafless, and the hot winds were blowing as fire-brands on all sides; and wild cats were licking the human blood, that was spilt on the rocky ground.

21. The flame of the wild fire rose high in the air, with clouds of smoke whirling with the howling winds of the forest; it growled aloud in every place, and filled the forest-land with heaps of brown cinders and burning fire brands.

22. Huge serpents were burnt in their caves, and the fumes rising from these burning bodies, served to grow the poisonous plants on the spot;while the flame stretching aloft with the winds, gave the sky an appearance of the glory of the setting sun.

23. Heaps of ashes were lifted like dust, by the high howling winds, and stood as domes unsupported by pillars in the open sky; and the little children stood crying for fear of them, beside their weeping parents.

24. There were some men who tore a dead body with their teeth, and in their great haste to devour the flesh, bit their own hands and fingers, which were besmeared in their own blood.

25. The vultures flying in the air, darted upon the smoke, thinking it a turret of trees, and pounced upon the fire brands, taking them for bits of raw flesh.

26. Men biting and tearing one another, were flying in all directions;when the splitting of the burning wood hit upon their breasts and bellies, and made them gory with blood gushing out of them.

27. The winds were howling in the hollow caves, and the flames of the wild fire flashing with fury; the snakes were hissing for fear of these, and the burnt woods were falling down with hideous noise.

28. Thus beset by dangers and horrors, with no other shelter than the rugged hollows of rocks, this place presented a picture of this world, with its circumambient flames, burning as the twelve zodiacal suns on high.

29. The winds were blowing hot amidst the burning woods and rocks, and drying up all things; and the heat of the fire below and the sunbeams above, together with the domestic calamities caused by influence of the planet Saturn, made this place a counterpart of this woeful world.